Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
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Following BYU's second straight loss last Thursday, Cougar fans had a lot of questions, and head coach Bronco Mendenhall took time to answer just about all of them on Wednesday night during KSL Newsradio's broadcast of "BYU Football with head Coach Bronco Mendenhall" at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Mendenhall was joined by starting Kat safety Daniel Sorensen as this week's player guest; you can hear the entire broadcast in "Cougar Cuts," left, or on the show page in the BYU Sports Menu, lower right.
Considering the team's two most recent games were decided by a combined four points, Mendenhall was rather eager to chat with the crowd. He suggested that the show break the mold a little bit by taking fan questions from start to finish, rather than waiting until the last segment.
Greg Wrubell obliged, but not until he first hashed out who will be starting at quarterback this week when BYU hosts Hawaii at 6:00 Friday evening.
"Riley (Nelson) is questionable. We'll wait to the very last second to try to give him an opportunity to play," Mendenhall said. "If he were not able to go, the one that fits most similar to his skill-set in the game plan is Taysom Hill."
Fans were curious as to how Bronco came to the decision to pull Nelson when he was obviously playing through pain that was taking a toll on his effectiveness in Boise.
Mendenhall says when he thought Nelson had enough, he asked offensive coordinator Brandon Doman what he saw and they agreed to leave him in for one more drive. The drive ended in a turnover, but that wasn't the end of Nelson's night as according to Mendenhall, the QB "fought for one more (drive)." Nelson's third interception ended the ensuing series, and his night.
Mendenhall shared that when he and Doman disagree about what to do with the quarterback, he'll lean towards Doman's opinion because he spends more time with the QBs.
When junior safety Daniel Sorensen joined the set, it was clear that the Boise State game was hard for him to swallow, but he referenced a positive memory of the outing. He spoke highly of his defensive teammates and their unity and highlighted what he could remember about the goal line stand his team made when they faced Boise State in a first-and-goal from the BYU one-yard line.
Alluding the sideline celebration that followed the fourth-down stop, Sorensen said he doesn't recollect too many detail, but "I do remember seeing coach 20 yards on the field with a big smile on his face."
When asked by a live audience member what the fans can be doing better to support the program, Mendenhall took ample time to compliment the fan base before offering any suggestions.
The things he would like to see the fan base do on game day boiled down to four simple requests: Come early, pack the stadium, stay to the very end and cheer for the opponent before and after the game no matter the outcome.
Mendenhall also took time to address what needs to happen in order to get his talented group of receivers more involved in the game. He said it's a must if the Cougars are going to generate the points he'd like to see. More than just the quarterback getting them the ball, he said, the responsibility falls to the offensive line to provide protection and the receivers to stay open when the QB is forced to extend the play with his legs.
As part of the Q-and-A segment, Mendenhall broke down his decision to go for a late two-point conversion in the Boise State setback, saying that there is a designated member of the coaching staff with stats on every situation that might come up, and the likelihood that a team will be successful.
Mendenhall says as soon as the two-point situation came about, he was able to assess the odds, while other coaches pitched in with what turned out to be a unanimous opinion -- to go for it. Mendenhall said he had already come to that decision by reasoning that his offensive team had considerable momentum, facing a tired defense. While the outcome wasn't what coach was looking for, he maintains he would make the same decision today.